Students learn to budget

1. Put pen to paper

Start with a sheet divided into two sections headed Income and Expenses and write down all of your sources of money and all the things you expect to have to shell out for. Don't forget costs like laundry or library charges, alongside rent, food and books. Being aware of how you spend your money can also show you where you could be saving, such as cutting down on coffees or making your own sandwiches.

2. Organise your income

While expenses will crop up on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, your income may come in a lump sum. If you get a maintenance loan, for example, it will arrive in chunks at the start of each term. If you have been working in the summer holidays before you start college, you will have a lump sum at the start of the year.

It can be a good idea to put the money to cover your rent or hall fees into a separate account that you don't touch on a day-to-day basis. That way you know how much you have left to spend for the rest of the term. Divide up any money you have left so you know how much you have to spend each week. Whether income is in the form of a loan, parental contribution, bursary or wages know where it's coming from before it arrives. Work out how it breaks down week-by-week or term-by-term.

3. Maximise your income

Four out of 10 students - 750,000 undergraduates - have a job while they study. But you shouldn't work too hard, say the experts. Try to keep it to less than 15 hours a week in term time. Full-time work in the holidays can be tax-free and good for your CV as well as your bank balance. If you don't yet have a part-time job but want to budget for one, expect to earn between £70 and £100 a week.

4. Get help

Your university or college bank branch will most likely have a student adviser. Take advantage of them - the advice will be free and they can help you manage your money better. Ask about free student banking, overdraft interest rates and charges, and any student loans they offer. Your student welfare office will also have seen it all before, and might be able to help with access college hardship funds.

5. Get a discount

Look out for deals, such as special offer haircuts and take advantage of money off vouchers, bogofs – buy one get one free offers - and student deals in restaurants, bars or at the cinema. Use the NUS Extracard to get money off at your favourite retailers. National and regional offers are listed on student-focused discount websites like studentbeans.com and snapfax.co.uk.

6. Learn to cook

Even the college canteen will charge a couple of pounds for something you can make yourself in a matter of minutes. Make your own sandwiches, refill your water or juice bottle, nick your granny's flask and make your own coffee for lectures. Use markets to buy cheap vegetables and fruit, buy own-brand labels in the big stores, buy a decent cookbook in the sale, or at a secondhand shop, and get staples like rice in bulk and you can eat well for £25 a week. See our student recipes if you need inspiration.

7. Turn unneeded things into cash

Amazon is a great place to buy and sell used textbooks. Worth knowing when faced with a £150 reading list. Auction sites like eBayare also good for getting rid of unwanted Christmas presents or misplaced purchases. If not online, use campus noticeboards and bookshops.

8. Manage your debt

You will be offered student overdrafts, student credit cards and student storecards but think carefully before you accept any of them. A low-interest overdraft can be a useful tool to help stretch the term's money, but watch the fees and the interest rate. A 0% credit card can also be useful for paying off big-ticket items or short-term borrowing, but don't keep money on it for longer than the 0% offer lasts – you will be hammered with interest. 

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